It was surprising to me to find an editorial column aimed squarely at me in the July 12 Deseret News. Apparently, a musing I had posted on my blog incited such fury in Utah County bureau chief Tad Walch that he saw fit to write a scathing two-page attack both on me personally and my body of work.
I don't mind the constructive clash of ideas. The gist of my blog post was an opinion (albeit colorful and rather sarcastic) that Utah County overwhelmingly displays both distorted patriotism and blatant superficiality. The fact that the headline "Utah has lowest voter turnout in nation" came the day after the patriotic smorgasbord called Stadium of Fire was particularly fascinating to me.
Mr. Walch, God love him, clearly holds a different opinion. I would have no qualms discussing these differences at length with him on another day.
No, my concern for his editorial stems from a number of different issues.
Firstly, there are much more important things going on in the world that deserve a 700-word column. Mr. Walch's decision to dedicate this space to elaborate his fury against a random Internet blogger seems a waste of time and a misuse of journalistic potential. Perhaps this country wouldn't be in the sort of crisis it's currently in if more "journalists" like Mr. Walch paid more attention to crucial social events rather than what the "buzz" on the Internet is.
Secondly, Mr. Walch decided to write his article without contacting me, or any of my production team, for comment. Because of this error, in both his judgment and journalistic integrity, Mr. Walch printed two factual inaccuracies in his article. First, he claims that my team and I "made fun of ultra-conservatives" in our first film, "This Divided State." We produced what dozens of critics across the country called one of "the most balanced documentaries ever made" that "lets both sides have their say."
Further, he falsely claims that we "manipulatively edited some film to cast an inaccurate (sic) light on BYU President Cecil Samuelson." This libelous statement is all the more damaging to Mr. Walch since a simple phone call to us would have provided him with any raw footage he needed in order to prove that no "manipulative editing" was done to cast anyone in an "inaccurate light." Knowing that it's a very bold thing to call someone a liar in print, I'll state frankly that, in this instance, Mr. Walch is a liar.
The third issue is his lazy dismissal of the newest film my team and I have worked for the last two years on. Claiming my blog post was a desperate bid for attention for my new film, he called on his reading public to say "no, thanks" to "Killer at Large.""Killer at Large" is a film about the American obesity epidemic that, according to former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, is a "greater threat to our country than 9/11 or any terrorist threat you can point out to me." To dismiss an issue of this magnitude (and to call all of his readers to ignore it as well) is, at best, a sign of ignorance and at worst a damaging action to our entire community.
Steven Greenstreet is a local filmmaker associated with ShineBox Media Productions. He is responding to a July 12 column by Tad Walch in which Walch commented on Greenstreet's blog titled, "Utah County Is America's Rectum." Walch's column can be found at www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700242578,00.html.